Jamie McMurray Weighs In on NASCAR Championship Location Debate

Jamie McMurray

Getty Jamie McMurray has made some comments about the championship race location.

There is an ongoing debate about the future location of NASCAR‘s championship weekend. Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray has now weighed in with his thoughts.

McMurray appeared on the November 7 episode of the “Door, Bumper, Clear” podcast. He discussed a variety of topics with hosts Brett Griffin, Freddie Kraft, and TJ Majors, which included whether NASCAR should continue to use Phoenix Raceway as the site of its championship weekend.

“The track does not produce exciting racing,” McMurray explained. “Like the restarts, they’re great. It’s so much fun. And then you’re like, ‘Oh, boy, we need a caution.’ Right? But the facility is amazing.

“So I think from a TV perspective, it’s not a good race. I mean, it’s just not exciting. But from a facilities standpoint of going there and being at a cool venue and everything that they’re doing around it, I think it’s a 10. But racing-wise, no.”

Griffin weighed in and provided a unique idea to address this debate. He said that the three national series should crown their champions at different tracks. Griffin said that he wants the Truck Series championship race at Martinsville Speedway and the Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway. For the Cup Series, he wants to see the location rotate each year.

The 3 Phoenix Championship Races Had 1 Common Trend

Cup Series

GettyThe Cup Series drivers race at Phoenix Raceway.

The Cup Series finale featured one driver turning in the best performance. Joey Logano showed up full of confidence and he embraced the pressure before winning the pole and leading the most laps.

With Logano crossing the finish line first and winning the championship, he continued a trend that began in 2020. He became the third driver to start from the pole in the championship race and go on to win.

Chase Elliott was the first to accomplish this. He started on the pole for the 2020 race, which was the first championship event at Phoenix Raceway. He then led 153 laps before winning.

One year later, Kyle Larson won the pole at Phoenix Raceway. He then led 107 laps in the No. 5 Chevrolet before winning his 10th race of the year and his first championship.

For comparison, the championship races at Homestead-Miami Speedway had a different trend. The drivers that won the title did not start on the pole. This includes 2019 when Kyle Busch started fourth, 2018 when Logano started fifth, 2017 when Martin Truex Jr. finished second, and 2016 when Jimmie Johnson started 14th.

The Championship Weekend Featured Many Fan Perks

Phoenix Raceway

GettyNASCAR fans attend a concert at Phoenix Raceway.

To McMurray’s point, the championship weekend had no shortage of entertainment options for the fans. There were multiple concerts, driver autograph sessions, a meal 150 feet in the air courtesy of Dinner in the Sky, and racing rigs courtesy of Motorsport Games among many, many other examples.

Some of these options were only available in the infield, but the rest of the facility was jam-packed full of vendor options, haulers, Q&A stages, and other attractions that the fans could use to pass the time before the three championship races.

The overwhelming opinion from those at Phoenix Raceway was that the facility was a great location based on everything that was available to ticket holders. The opinions about the races, however, were split.

Of the three main championship races that occurred over the weekend, there were two that stood out. The Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series finales did not disappoint as the championship-hopeful drivers battled with each other until the final lap.

The Cup Series finale was a different story. This event became a two-car race as Joey Logano dominated by leading 187 laps while Ross Chastain tried to chase him down.

Chase Elliott was knocked out of contention early in the final stage after contact from Chastain on a restart sent him spinning toward the inside wall. He finished 28th and multiple laps down.

Christopher Bell was in contention at various points of the race. However, he fell back in the pack after a slow pit stop in which his tire changer injured his finger as it was caught between the nut and spindle.

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